That’s French For…

 

If you speak a Romance language, you know that they are very gendered. All nouns have a gender, paired with a gendered pronoun and all adjectives must agree with that gender. It can be intense.

But binary gender is an unpopular concept as the world wakes up to the fact that gender is a fluid construct. And now there is a movement afoot to address this in Romance languages.

In France, adding the letter ‘e’ to a word makes the word feminine. Omitting the letter ‘e’ makes the word masculine. There is now a movement to change that by adding ‘e’ to traditionally masculine words to make them more inclusive.

Here is an example from the Associated Press:

“Take the generic French word for leaders — “dirigeants” — for example. For some, that masculine spelling suggests that they are generally men and makes women leaders invisible, because it lacks a feminine “e” toward the end. For proponents of inclusive writing, a more gender-equal spelling is “dirigeant·es,” inserting the extra “e,” preceded by a middle dot, to make clear that leaders can be of both sexes.”

This movement is not supported by the French government. The extra ‘e’ method has been banned in French schools. The deputy education minister said that this method is “a danger for our country” and will “sound the death knell for the use of French in the world.”

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